Carl Soderberg had his second multi-point game within the last ten days. That isn't a misprint; the 6’3” forward recorded a goal and an assist in the Colorado Avalanche’s 5-3 win over the visiting Carolina Hurricanes.
After having a year to forget in 2016, Carl Soderberg has been off to a surprisingly strong start for the 2017-2018 campaign.
“Last year was terrible in all aspects,” Soderberg said. “Team-wise, personal-wise, producing-wise, ice time-wise...everything, just a terrible season, and I want to have a bounce-back season for sure.”
Soderberg has been quietly contributing to his team’s early-season success, and tonight was no exception. Logging just shy of 17 minutes while killing penalties, playing on the power play and getting the Avs scoring started, the Swede did it all. He, however, wasn’t overly thrilled with the team’s overall performance.
“I think we had a really bad game, to be honest,” Soderberg said when asked about the game. “We give up 60 shots, we can be way better.”
His line’s play was singled out by head coach Jared Bednar as having had a strong effort, despite the team giving up five dozen shots on goal.
“They’re playing the right way most consistently,” Bednar told the media after the game. “They continue to get it done on both sides of the rink. They’re a very trustworthy line right now.”
The combination of Soderberg, Comeau, and Nieto has been great for Colorado in recent weeks, combining for 15 points as a unit while providing an unexpected offensive punch to help the team win some games.
“I think we’re a good line together,” Soderberg told BSN Denver. “We work hard, I think we think the same way of hockey. I think it’s a perfect match.”
It’s a fresh start for a player who scored 51 points for the Avs in his first season with the team but dropped to 14 in his second year. Soderberg was the center of a lot of criticism over the summer, as he was expected to be the team’s number two center for many years. He instead found himself playing fourth line minutes and watching a couple games from the press box.
“We got off to a fresh start in the summer,” Soderberg said with a smile. “And wins, to win games helps too. You can relax a little, and play a little bit more. So, I think it’s a good start so far, and hopefully, we can keep winning.”
A good start; that seems to be a common theme amongst Avalanche players and staff. While it’s great to be two games over .500, too many remember this team was 9-9 after 18 games last season before falling apart in December.
Having a player like Soderberg contributing on a regular basis in the bottom six is going to be key to the Avs continuing to win games deeper into the season, something they didn’t have last year.
This is a different team, and a night like tonight proved that. Despite being outshot, the Avs found a way to win. While Varlamov’s stellar performance in net was a huge part of that, getting more contributions from veteran role players like Carl Soderberg will continue to be a key ingredient in the recipe for success.